Power Plant Holiday Light Show
Dubbed “Baltimore’s Bellagio” by a local news anchor, The Power Plant Holiday Light Spectacular transformed one of the city’s oldest and most iconic buildings into a 32,000 square foot canvas of 3D video motion graphics, multi-colored laser effects and choreographed pyrotechnics.
Due to surprising success and popularity in its debut year, The Power Plant Holiday Light Spectacular was brought back for a second year to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Dubbed as “Baltimore’s Bellagio” by a local news anchor,The Power Plant Holiday Light Spectacular transformed one the city’s oldest and most iconic buildings into a 32,000 square foot canvas of 3D video motion graphics, multi-colored laser effects and choreographed pyrotechnics. The Power Plant, which was completely restored and renovated for retail use in the 80’s and 90’s, originally served as one of Baltimore’s first electricity generating plants for the city’s growing streetcar enterprise.
In early 2009, Image Engineering first approached the owners of the century old Power Plant building about using the façade as a backdrop for a larger-than-life video and laser spectacle. Once the light show project was finally funded in October 2011 by local businesses, Image Engineering’s design team immediately went to work creating the sound and light display. The presentation would have to be engaging, artistic, and reliably replayed for over 75 performances from mid-November through New Year’s Eve.
To create the nightly spectacular, Image Engineering leveraged its entire creative capability to design the multi-faceted show. Additional resources to develop the video content were provided by another local firm, NVision4D. The integration of video, lasers, lighting, and pyrotechnic effects were all seamlessly choreographed together into one cohesive presentation.
The display relied on a diverse variety of projection technologies. 3D motion graphics were projected from six of the brightest video projectors commercially available. Three 20w full-color laser projectors were mapped to the building to create the laser effect overlays. To improve the show from its 2011 premiere, two of the most powerful white-light laser projectors in the country were deployed to create a multi-colored beam effect. Also added in 2012 were “4D” effects, like snow from strategically placed snow machines along the promenade. A custom built infrastructure was constructed to protect the projection inventory from Baltimore’s unpredictable winter weather and within which to cool the equipment.
Just like its inaugural season, the second season of the show was widely successful. Spurred in part by intensive local media attention and social media outlets, The Power Plant Holiday Light Spectacular played to over 40,000 visitors in Baltimore’s downtown. The spectacle generated dozens of YouTube videos with a combined tally of over 25,000 views.
In an effort to encourage families to visit downtown, the holiday light show is a shining example of downtown businesses and organizations coming together to activate the Inner Harbor for the holiday season.